As the blockchain industry anticipates the launch of Ethereum 2.0, two developments boosting the world’s second-largest blockchain were announced this week, bringing increased scalability and use cases to the network. 

ConsenSys — the main software developer for Ethereum — is teaming with payments giant Mastercard to launch ConsenSys Rollups to improve the scalability of the Ethereum blockchain for its mainnet and private use. 

Meanwhile, ConsenSys is also launching Gravity Bridge — a link between Ethereum and the Cosmos ecosystem that will connect Ethereum with other blockchains. The bridge will also allow for new staking potential, unlocking greater liquidity as more assets are able to flow through an increasing number of connected chains.

Described as the “internet of blockchains,” Cosmos is a decentralized network of independent yet interoperable blockchains that can exchange tokens and information permissionlessly. Cosmos also aims to address scalability — along with usage and governance — by helping developers build independent blockchains for a variety of use cases that have the ability to communicate with each other.

Ethereum’s usage is at an all-time high, as distinct wallet addresses recently crossed the 181 million mark, according to EtherScan. As Ethereum’s popularity grows, this leads to congestion on the network, delaysed transactions and higher gas fees — the cost of running transactions on the network. While some changes have been made to address these issues in the lead-up to the launch of Eth 2.0, such as token burning, many firms are working on various layer-2 solutions to improve upon the existing Ethereum network.

Despite this continued growth, ETH, the native token of the Ethereum blockchain, has fallen in price along with the rest of the cryptocurrency market after setting a new all-time high in mid-November, though is currently trading nearly 20% down on that mark at US$3,954 at press time, according to CoinMarketCap.

Rollups are a layer-2 solution that improves scalability on Ethereum by bundling or “rolling-up” and processing many transactions off-chain, before sending the results back to Ethereum for verification, therefore reducing congestion on the network. ConsenSys Rollups can currently achieve a throughput of up to 10,000 transactions per second (TPS) on a private chain while only 300 TPS can be achieved on private chains and 15 on the Ethereum mainnet.

“ConsenSys Rollups enable vastly more scalability in addition to strong privacy protections to both enhance solutions for existing use-cases and enable new use-cases,” said Madeline Murray, Global Lead of Protocol Engineering at ConsenSys, in a statement shared with Forkast.News. “This innovative solution will help accelerate the building of the future of finance.”.

Some of those use cases include central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), decentralized exchanges, micropayments, and private transfers and taxes, according to ConsenSys.

ConsenSys is the developer behind the popular non-custodial wallet MetaMask, which has seen an explosion in growth this year as it is the wallet used to connect to Ronin, a sidechain of the hugely popular play-to-earn game Axie Infinity.

The company — which was founded by a co-founder of Ethereum and also serves as the leading software developer for Ethereum — closed a US$200 funding round last month to build into Web 3.0. ConsenSys is also involved in CBDC projects around the world and was one of three firms selected recently by the Monetary Authority of Singapore as winners of the Global CBDC Challenge, which called for solutions to improve CBDCs for financial inclusion.